What happens after we pass over to the other side? It is a question that dogs us as soon as we become conscious of what death is all about. Of course points of view on this subject are colored by the religion that a person follows. It is a commonly banded about idea that some Muslims believe they are promised 72 virgins, upon entry to paradise, particularly those who fight in the way of Allah.
What do Catholics believe? At the moment of death, the soul is separated from the body and no longer sustains order within the natural body; as a result, the body begins to corrupt and left to its own will decompose. The soul, however, is immortal and never ceases to exist, once created. Immediately upon death, the soul of each person is judged by the Lord, either to eternal life or the damnation of hell.
There must be many permutations depending on which religion a person follows. Buddhists give two permutations, If you still have unresolved kamma (Sanskrit: karma), if the conditions for rebirth are present, “you” are reborn. Alternatively If you have achieved nibbana (Sanskrit: nirvana) during your life, you will have no more kamma, and so the conditions for the creation of the five clinging-aggregates will no longer be present. Consciousness will cease, activity in your brain will cease, and your body will decay. Meaning you will die, and that’s your lot.
The Buddhist version of life after death, seems to not only be more appealing than the threat of damnation in Hell but also seems to be more logical, as well giving a meaning to life, in that through a life we learn and develop until we reach the point whereby it is unnecessary to learn any more.
From my point of view it is only when we all finally embrace death itself will this vexing question about what happens after death will finally be answered. There are those who have recently had their quest to answer this question satisfied. David Bowie is no longer with us, having succumbed to cancer. He was the type of man a person might imagine could live forever, he was such a part of my life as surely he was for many others. Is he now in some other dimension working on celestial music? Has he been interacting with other departed souls, other geniuses, departed family members of the Jones family (Jones was his real family name).
In my book Flight of Destiny, I present an image of both Heaven and Hell. In my story cast from Hell, a man is rejected by Hell (for being too good) and is sent back in the guise of a woman to wreak havoc. This is his take on Hell.
As you can tell, my expectations of hell were quickly dashed.It was far removed from William Blake’s famed illustrations of Dante’s Inferno, and it didn’t even remotely resemble a Brueghel painting.To my surprise, there was no evidence in Hell of people being grievously punished. The slothful were not being goaded with burning coals. The gluttons were not being tormented with thirst and hunger.There were no hedonists being bathed in burning pitch and stinking brimstone, or envious individuals howling with grief over that which they could never possess. The proud were not being brought down.The covetous were not being denied. In fact, the damned seemed to be living in a modicum of comfort. I never detected any weeping, wailing or gnashing of teeth. The place, called by some gehenna, the bottomless pit, was admittedly no holiday camp, but things there had grown shoddy and dysfunctional. It would require major rehabilitation to scare even a child. Being lodged with fellow rejects was sobering experience, not unlike being in a holding center for suspected criminals, refugees or illegal immigrants.
This is his take on Heaven.
I took a last look survey of Hell. It looked like a vast airport terminal: vacuous, tedious, and hum-drum. By now I couldn’t wait to leave. By contrast, I have often tried to imagine Heaven. To me it would be one long party in a great vivant night club, not unlike this second life to which I was now looking forward to I closed my inner eye as instructed and waited while Charon transported me to earth’s dimension.
What happens after death, is the ultimate, unanswerable question.
Francis H Powell is a writer. His recently published book is Flight of Destiny, a book of 22 short stories.
This article is part of a blogging challenge,